An NYSE Scalper's Tale - A Trader's Diary

Thursday, March 01, 2007

An NYSE Scalper's Tale - One Year Later....

Recently it occurred to me that this blog has made it through it's first full year of existence.

I really can't believe that I've been blogging for that long. It seemed just like yesterday I decided to start this thing.

So how did this idea of blogging about my trading day begin in the first place?

We were at a shopping mall and I remember my wife trying on some jackets. I could tell by the look on her face that she really liked that jacket a lot...but when she looked at the price tag, she reluctantly put it back on the rack.

She mentioned something about it being too expensive, but it was that look of disappointment on her face as she was putting that jacket back on that rack that really made me think.

I thought to myself that I never want to see that look of disappointment on my wife's face ever again and that I would work as hard as I could to get this trading thing off it's feet.

At the time, I had been trading full-time for a about 4 months (but at the prop firm for 10 months), but I was not happy about where it was going. There were times I had bad days and I never bothered to review why the day turned out so bad and that I found myself repeating the same mistakes over and over gain.

I thought that the best way for me to improve is to review what I do every day and try to analyze what went right and what went wrong.

If I just did this on my own and wrote it down in a notebook, I knew that I'd start getting lazy and that it wouldn't last.

And so, I decided to do it online where it was visible to all and by doing so, I would keep myself honest in reviewing my trading daily. On February 16, 2006, the very first entry to this blog was made.

I tried to think of what I would have liked to have seen when I started to trade for a living....by outlining the stocks traded, the number of trades, a review of what went right and what went wrong, along with the good and bad trades.

That first month, I think I had a grand total of 21 visits to the blog. This would continue for several months and it got to a point where I thought that this blog was hopeless...that no one really wanted to read about my trading day and the lessons I was learning. And since the number of visits were so low, I found myself skipping my daily review on the bad days and no one seemed to notice (since no one was visiting!).

I had serious thoughts about shutting this blog down. But I'm glad I didn't. Here are the latest traffic stats (click on image to view):



As you can see, there was a sudden surge of traffic in August 2006.

What happened to cause this sudden surge?

At the time, I had no idea what the blogging etiquette was and I wanted to put links on my page. I sent an email to none other than Trader Mike and I simply told him that I was placing a link on my page to his site and I was asking his permission to do so.

He emailed me back, telling me it was OK and that I didn't need to ask for permission to put links on my site. When I read that email, I felt myself go red in the face with embarrassment (talk about a newbie blogger!).

Well, the next day after I emailed Trader Mike, I saw that my blog was listed under his daily "Recent Links" section, and the rest, as they say, was history.

During this past year, this blog has undergone quite a few changes. The daily posts had it's format slightly revamped and for several months I stopped composing my "On Tap" because I felt that no one was really reading it (and I still think that not many people are reading these posts).

At some point, I also started my "Top 3 List", where I would list the top three most expensive item of the week. There were things such as cars, watches, houses, and wines. I did some research and put some facts together. But these posts required a tremendous amount of time and I have yet to revive these posts.

I had also wanted to post things Toronto-related. I'm usually quite active in the city during the weekends and I had wanted others to see what kind of a city Toronto was. I only managed to provide one post....most of the time I just kept forgetting to bring the digital camera where ever I go. Perhaps when summer kicks up, I'll continue with those posts.

Currently there are only 5 types of posts: my daily post, on tap posts, Weekend Reading posts, my monthly review, and my Trader Monthly Review Roundup.

But let me tell you folks....blogging isn't easy. It takes a lot of time and effort to keep it alive and I can tell you that I've wanted to kill this blog multiple times.

Even though I only post once or twice daily, it takes up more time that I ever thought possible. Just my daily report of my trading day takes me about an hour or more to think of a main point, compose, post up charts, and to review my trades.

Then it takes me another 30 minutes or more to compose my On Tap posts. Altogether, that's at least an additional hour and a half of EXTRA work I do (on top of my usual review and research routine). I could very well have used that time to spend with my wife or to just flat out de-stress.

I really have to hand it to those other trading bloggers who can produce 2 or more daily posts with detailed charts...those are the folks with real dedication not only to themselves, but to you, the readers.

And every time I get one of those nasty Anonymous comments about how my trading style sucks or why I'm such an idiot for trading the way I do (I've had quite a bit of those), it just takes me one step closer to shutting this blog down. Why should I have to constantly defend myself and subject myself to such negativity....if this blog didn't exist, I could always use the extra time wisely.

BUT, I'm going to keep chugging along until I get to where I want to be. Once I'm there...I don't know....maybe that will be the time to close this blog down....but until then, I'll be here to give you regular postings in the hopes that each and every one of you can come away with something positive from this blog.

Just remember that this blog was mainly setup for me to help myself in my trading...to closely examine what I do every day...and that this serves as my own personal trading diary where I can put my thoughts, feelings, and emotions about what I do.

So has this blog helped me in my trading after one year?

I don't know. I can't answer that question. I may have had the same trading difficulties with or without this blog. Maybe success could have been greater without this blog. Who knows?

What I do know is that I feel much better about what I do by blogging about it. I feel as though I am actively trying to identify things I need to improve upon and that I am actively trying to do something about it.

Will I crash and burn? Will I ever get to where I want to be with this? Will I get the chance to continue doing what many people dream of doing for a living? Only time will tell. Thus, I hope that you, the good readers, will follow me in my journey and to see where this thing takes me!

And don't worry honey....I'm really working as hard as I can on this and I hope that very soon I can make that jacket yours....

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18 Comments:

  • woooo....hoooooo!
    I get to be the 1st one to say Happy One! and more importantly = a big thank you and standing O's for the work and the sharing that you do. We all become better traders and bloggers because of you. I hope to see a cupcake with 2 candles next to it next March!
    March on JC.
    E-ya later.
    Jerry in Windsor, Ontario!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 02, 2007 12:11 a.m.  

  • Hi JC,

    Happy 1 year anniversary and hopefully many more to come.

    Thanks for providing the following leads to prop firms in Toronto (see below). I was wondering if you or other readers can point to websites that review these prop firms. Or can you start a discussion forum on your blog to let the readers talk about their experiences with these prop firms.

    "Thanks for your comments. There are a couple I've recently come across (they were referred to me). Here are some: DVTrading (dvtrading.ca), Titan Securities (titansecurities.ca), Saxon Financials (saxonfinancials.com), and Title Trading (titletrading.com). I haven't checked their requirements or if they are any good, so make sure you do your research!"

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 02, 2007 5:33 a.m.  

  • Happy 1 year anniversary to you and your dear ones and again thank you for sharing your thoughts and trading on this blog.
    For what it's worth I'm a constant reader of your blog and since i started ,only 2 months ago, my trading amazingly improved, i used to do many mistakes and still do but less and not as costly, seeing how a better trader than me works and think helped me, and we traders need all the help we can get against the big "bullies" of the market makers , if you get my drift.

    Have a great life.

    Abi

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 02, 2007 6:08 a.m.  

  • Hey, I read your blog... I like it... I have a ton of blogs I "try" and read each morning and I've put them in order from the best (read daily) to the worst (check only if the markets dead and I'm bored to death). Your in the top 5.

    I'm always told my trading style sucks too but I've been trading for almost 6 years with no other job, so imagine how rich I'd be if I had a good trading style... hey mine is supporting me, enough said.

    You can't worry about those people that say nasty things, some people (and I know you know this) thrive on just that. So keep up the good work.

    BTW, I'm surprised that it takes so much time to research some of the most expensive things we can own... send me in ANY store and I manage to find the most expensive things they have... its an uncanny knack. Sadly I buy many of them.

    Best!

    pixie

    By Anonymous pixie, at March 02, 2007 6:57 a.m.  

  • I can't believe it's already been over a year either. Happy Blogiversary!

    Blogging, especially on a daily basis, is hard work. I think you're doing an incredible job. Keep up the good work and try to ignore those ugly comments. We all get them & it amazes what people have the nerve to do over the internet.

    By Blogger Michael, at March 02, 2007 8:29 a.m.  

  • I think your blog is unique and interesting. You've given me a window into a style I know little about (scalping). I hope you keep posting for years to come.

    Congrats,

    Jonathan

    By Anonymous Jonathan, at March 02, 2007 9:16 a.m.  

  • Don't get upset there will always be the 10% that complain about everything and contribute nothing but negativity.
    As long as you enjoy writing for the blog, remember the 90% who back you and your efforts.

    By Blogger JOSEPH, at March 02, 2007 11:00 a.m.  

  • Happy 1st amigo! That was a nice post, and I wish you luck (and skill) in the year ahead.

    Just as some commentators described the sell-off in the markets as a healthy correction, so your tough February could also be seen as healthy, depending on how what you decide to learn from it. I know I'm just emphasising Brett Steebarger's earlier comments, but I think they are really important. Your monthly stats remind me of the kind of solid consistency of tennis player Roger Federer. Note that when Roger is really up against it, his vulnerability and emotions sometimes show through (albeit rarely), but I believe it all how he handles these situations that define him as a winner. It's fine being strong and optimistic in the good times, but it's in the tougher times when the trader's personality really counts. I think you've got it takes. Keep growing, keep trading.

    PS - In it's early days, my blog also got a nice boost from a passing link from Trader Mike and Brett S - the readers who came have shaped my trading personality with ideas and constructive comments. It's nice to be connected to the community.

    By Anonymous Caravaggio, at March 02, 2007 12:51 p.m.  

  • Congrats! I can only hope I can make it to my 1 year anniversary in August. It is more work than I thought it would be.

    You do a great job. Keep it up!

    By Blogger Brian, at March 02, 2007 4:50 p.m.  

  • is it true that NYSE is raising their fees to $2.50 per 1000 shares? Sound ridiculous. How will this affect you?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 02, 2007 5:03 p.m.  

  • Great post and keep up the good work. Looking forward to year 2

    By Blogger Bubs, at March 02, 2007 7:13 p.m.  

  • To all,
    Thanks for all the great comments! Sorry about the late reply but it's only now I'm going though all of the comments.

    Anon@5:33AM,
    The best place to find info about those places is probably at the EliteTrader forums (elitetrader.com). Run a search through the forums and hopefully there are some threads...otherwise you can always post up a question.

    Anon@5:03PM,
    Yea, with this new Hybrid market the NYSE is trying to increase the fees by 10X. The fee will now be 0.0025 per share that is routed away from the NYSE. Since the NYSE wants execution to be seemless across all ECNs and the NYSE, if you want to send an order directly to the NYSE, they will first route it to any available ECNs first and fill you on those ECNs (with the new 0.0025 fee) and the balance will be sent to the NYSE. I know the prop firm I work for is trying to develop something that can hopefully reduce the fees. For me that new fee structure is gonna hurt quite badly...I may have to resort to a less-expensive (but still expensive) way of getting filled. Someone suggested that using INET-RASH will now be cheaper. As for exiting my positions, I'll continue using ARCA and Island to try to collect credits. Hope it helps!

    By Blogger J.C., at March 02, 2007 7:32 p.m.  

  • Congratulations JC!

    Have you noticed the correlation between your boost in blog traffic and the daily chart of the SPY?

    In the July/August time frame your blog started to exponentially gain traffic as the SPY had bottomed and then was going up. I believe that as the overall market goes so goes readership of stock related blogs.

    I'm sure there were other factors involved as you pointed out but I saw an interesting correlation between your blog traffic charts and the SPY charts.

    I enjoy reading your blog on a regular basis and look forward to many more to come.

    Keep up the good trading.

    By Anonymous StockRoach, at March 02, 2007 9:33 p.m.  

  • In general I don't post much(anywhere), but I wanted to leave a little comment now as an exception.

    Keep in mind that for every anonymous post that tells you that you suck there are at 1000 people who visit your site regularly and silently. It is that silent voice that you can hear if you look at your site traffic. And by the looks of it, it is getting stronger and stronger.

    Keep up the work, for yourself and for me, I really think your blog adds to my knowledge of trading.

    By Blogger killer, at March 02, 2007 10:09 p.m.  

  • Or, just disable anonymous posts perhaps?

    By Blogger killer, at March 02, 2007 10:10 p.m.  

  • You will succeed in what you want to succeed, so long as you really believe in it. Simple law of attraction.

    Congratulations and wish you all the best best during these nice voliatlity filled days.

    By Blogger Flatwallet, at March 02, 2007 10:41 p.m.  

  • Happy Birthday! I found your blog via Trader Mike's. Very impressed by your content and visitors. I started a blog on trading about 3 months ago, so I get just a handful of visitors but there are regulars that contribute good stuff. One day I may reach your kind of numbers. Anyway, hope your trading is going well and thanks for sharing.

    By Blogger Lauriston, at March 03, 2007 12:47 a.m.  

  • Stockroach,
    Thanks for your comments and thanks for the support! I just wish my daily P&L chart looks like my traffic stats! Have a great weekend and the best of luck to you!

    Killer,
    Thanks for your comments and thanks for the compliments. I'll try not to let those bad comments get to me and I'll continue full steam ahead. I think if it the problem becomes too much of a distraction, then perhaps I should disable anonymous comments as you suggest. Have a great weekend!

    Flatwallet,
    Thanks for your comments. I couldn't have said it better! I'll keep my eyes on the prize and I'll get there soon! Keep up the good work at your site and I wish you all the best!

    Lauriston,
    Thanks for your comments. I just discovered your blog so I shall be following your progress intently! Good luck and good trading to you!

    By Blogger J.C., at March 03, 2007 5:07 p.m.  

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